Page:LostApocryphaOfTheOldTestamentMRJames.djvu/93

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THE OLD TESTAMENT

(1895), was decidedly of opinion that the father of John was meant, and that the book contained an expanded form of the narrative of Herod's slaying Zacharias which we now read in the latter chapters of the Protevangelium or Book of James. He thought, moreover, that in a Slavonic writing, which he translated, he had discovered the actual book named in the lists. This narrative is wholly legendary and not apocalyptic. The attention of Berendts had not been called to a passage—a note of Origen on Ephes. iv. 27—which was printed in 1902 in the Journal of Theological Studies (iii. 554). "We give place to the devil, or to the prevailing spirit that comes up upon us, when the guiding principle in us has not been filled with holy learning or saving faith and excellent thoughts which counsel us for the best: for according to Zacharias the father of John, 'Satan tabernacles over (or, we might say, hovers over) the climates (κλίματα, regions?, inclinations?) of the soul,' and such concessions to the worse things . . . challenge the devil to enter into our souls."

This sentence is not of a kind which would fit easily into such a narrative as Berendts has produced: it is rather such as might be looked for in an Apocalypse.

Certainly Origen does seem to have been acquainted with a writing about the father of John which we do not possess. A comment of his on Matt, xxiii. 35 says, "a tradition to this effect has come down to us," that Zacharias allowed Mary to take her place among the virgins in the Temple after the birth of Christ, on the ground that she was still a virgin, and that he was slain by the men of that generation as a transgressor of the Law, between the Temple and the altar. He also says, in the Latin version of his commentary on Matthew, "It is said in apocryphal writings that Isaiah was sawn in sunder, and that Zacharias was slain, and Ezekiel." Jerome on Matthew (xxiii. 35) may be drawing from Origen when he writes, "Others will have it that Zacharias the father of John is meant; they prove from some dream of apocryphal writings